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When movie greats made their final film appearance

Last updated on: November 9, 2011 11:46 IST

When movie greats made their final film appearance

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One of the most anticipated things about Imtiaz Ali's Rockstar is that it gives us a final chance to see the late great Shammi Kapoor on screen again.

Here, then, are ten cinematic swansongs, truly special final appearances that have left us wanting more:

Shammi Kapoor

Imtiaz Ali's upcoming Rockstar features the recently deceased Shammi Kapoor in a cameo role, playing the shehnaai opposite his grandson, Ranbir Kapoor, the film's leading man.

The pair jam on a track called The Dichotomy Of Fame, a track meant to bridge generations in a scene that, one hopes, will let us see Shammi pass the baton to his brother Raj's grandson.

It looks to be a fitting final appearance because if in our cinema there ever was a rock star, it was Shammi.


Image: Shammi Kapoor in Rockstar

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Ashok Kumar

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Dadamoni's last role came in Aankhon Mein Tum Ho, when he was 86, four years before he passed away in 2001.

Directed by Ashim Samanta, the son of late great filmmaker Shakti Samanta, it starred Rohit Roy in the lead.

Kumar played a grandfather in the film. Viewers might however better remember his turn in Return Of Jewel Thief, made only a couple of years before this final film.


Image: Ashok Kumar in Aankhon Mein Tum Ho

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Amrish Puri

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Amrish Puri's last film was Subhash Ghai's Kisna, and while the film itself was berated as a dated, lacklustre dud, Puri was in fine form as a bloodthirsty and cruel villain, eager to hack people to death.

It was an exaggerated role yet one that showed us Puri as we remember him, as a villain unlike any we'd ever seen before or since.


Image: Amrish Puri in Kisna

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Raaj Kumar

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Born in 1926, Raaj Kumar continued acting right up to 1995, a year before he passed away.

His last screen success came in 1991 with Subhash Ghai's Saudagar, but the films never stopped, as he made Tirangaa, Insaniyat Ka Devta, Betaaj Baadshah all after that.

His final film was the oddly-titled God And Gun directed by Esmayeel Shroff, featuring Jackie Shroff, Raj Babbar and Prem Chopra alongside Kumar himself in the lead.


Image: Raaj Kumar in God And Gun

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Ajit

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One of the most distinctive screen villains in Hindi cinema, Ajit Khan passed away in 1998.

His last film was Mahesh Bhatt's Criminal, starring Nagarjuna and Manisha Koirala in the lead roles.

The 1995 film saw Ajit in the role of Jagdish Prasad, and while he didn't have as much to do, Bhatt ensured the legendary bad guy made a memorable impact.


Image: Ajit

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Rajendra Kumar

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Born in 1929, Kumar essentially stopped acting after the 1993 Phool, where he acted alongside son Kumar Gaurav.

Still, we saw him in the occasional film, and his swansong was a glorious one: he appeared in Deepa Mehta's 1947: Earth in 1998, a year before he passed away.

He played a refugee policeman in the film, and while his role might have been minor, the film was a critical triumph.


Image: Rajendra Kumar

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Madhubala

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Madhubala's heart ailment came to light in the 1950s, but the actress worked despite the medical difficulties through most of that decade.

Her last film was 1964's Sharabi, opposite Dev Anand, while other films -- Chalak, with Raj Kapoor, and Farz Aur Ishk, her planned directorial debut -- had to be shelved because of her worsening condition.

The ethereal beauty finally succumbed to her illness in 1969, at the age of 36. Sharabi, however, is a fitting finale to a luminous career, showing the actress at her most beautiful and her most effective, a heroine destined not to age in any of our eyes.


Image: A Sharabi movie poster

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Nargis

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Several of us are aware that Nargis passed away in 1981, weeks before the screen debut of her son, Sanjay Dutt.

Her last film, however, poses a bit of a puzzle. According to the Internet, she last appeared in a 1968 Greek film called Tosa Oneira Stous Dromous.

Before that came a 1967 Marathi film, Deva Tuzhi Sonyachi Jejuri. The film we do remember as her last, however, was 1967's Raat Aur Din, where she played a fantastically conflicted heroine called Varuna.

This performance from over 40 years ago remains the best Hindi film depiction of split-personality disorder.


Image: A Raat Aur Din movie poster

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Raj Kapoor

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Hindi cinema's showman Raj Kapoor passed away in 1988, at the age of 63, while working on Heena, later completed by sons Rishi and Randhir.

His last major Hindi film appearance came in 1982's Vakil Babu, an audience-pleasing role that saw him act alongside his brother Shashi.

His final acting role, however, was a cameo in John Howard Davies' adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's Kim, a 1984 made-for-TV film that also starred Peter O Toole.


Image: Raj Kapoor in Vakil Babu

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Prithviraj Kapoor

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Most people remember Kal Aaj Aur Kal, the Randhir Kapoor film which saw three generations of the Kapoor khandaan united on screen, as Prithviraj Kapoor's last film, but that wasn't the case.

His last Hindi film was Naag Panchami, a 1972 fantasy in which he appeared as Maharaj Chandradhar.

After this came the Punjabi hit Mele Mitran Di, featuring Kapoor and Dara Singh in the lead roles. Thus returning to his Punjab roots, Kapoor breathed his last in 1972, at the age of 65.


Image: A Naag Panchami movie poster

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